The Criminal Court in Qatif on Wednesday sentenced two men to prison terms for participating in protests in this restive part of eastern Saudi Arabia over the past two years. The court issued verdicts in three out of five case of men accused by the government of rioting. The other two cases have been adjourned until next week.
One of the defendants was sentenced to four months, but the judge ordered his release because he has already spent that time in custody, an activist who attended the trial told Riyadh Bureau. The judge sentenced another defendant to two months in jail after he had been out on bail, while the third one was acquitted for lack of evidence. The two young men who were sentenced have admitted taking part in protests and signed a pledge not to do so in future.
The activist said he was surprised that the court sentences were not as harsh as they were expecting. “It was good that the judge has considered the circumstances of these youth,” he said. However, the prosecution protested and demanded harsher sentences. The Appeals Court will look into the sentences and either uphold them or send the case back to the judge for retrial.